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The Annual Garden: 4 Steps for Nurturing Your Crops

Whether planting flowers or vegetables, it is essential to take proper care when planting an annual garden. The requirements for nurturing yearly plantings are different than those for perennial gardening, and providing the best possible growing medium is vital to the health of both the plants and the soil.


Prepare the Ground for Planting

When it comes to gardening, the soil is one of the most important aspects. After all, without good quality soil, the seeds will not have the nutrients they need to germinate and grow into healthy plants. Likewise, the burgeoning seedlings need a continual supply of nutrients to produce flowers or vegetables.


Preparing the ground begins in the fall, right after harvest. All garden waste, including dead plants, should be cleared. As long as there has been no sign of disease, this debris can be composted.


Once cleared, the garden plot should be tilled under and covered with a layer of organic compost or a slow-acting fertilizer like Nature Safe. This allows the soil to soak up the benefits through the fall and winter months.


Plan Annual Plants Accordingly

Researching which plants grow best together is a great way to provide essential nutrients and improve the health of the plants. For example, corn, beans, and squash are excellent companion plants, as each one offers a vital service for the other. Corn gives beans a natural pole to climb, beans provide nitrogen for the plants, and squash is an excellent ground cover and natural weed suppressant.


Additionally, group drought-tolerant plants together and plant ones that need copious amounts of water in another area. Doing so will help conserve water as well as provide each plant with all they need to grow.


Feed the Plants

Regardless of the type of annual, all plants need a steady source of nutrition throughout the growing season. Organic fertilizers are far superior to chemical-based commercial fertilizers for the soil, the plants, and the environment. Regular applications of a high-quality organic fertilizer improve the health and vitality of the plants, plus helps environmentally conscious gardeners from depleting the soil. Organic Facts offers an excellent reference for some of the benefits of organic gardening.


Control Weeds

Along with making sure the soil is packed with nutrients all through the season, it is important to keep weeds from taking over. Providing a thick layer of organic mulch will help control weeds, but hoeing and pulling by hand are also usually necessary. As long as the annual garden receives regular care all through the year, plants should thrive year after year.

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